The Self-Assessment Tax Return deadline is fast approaching, with final submissions due by Friday 31st January. If you’re one of the millions of taxpayers still to file their online tax assessments then you may be feeling the pressure. 
You can find more details about the Self-Assessment Tax Return and what you need to know in our previous blog post here, or if you need to act quickly then don’t hesitate and contact our team today at 01937 584188. 
What if I miss the deadline? 
It’s no secret that HMRC are quick to dish out fines and angry letters if you fall foul of their rules. In this case, you may face a charge for any of the following reasons: 
Late filing of the Self-Assessment Tax Return 
Late payment of tax due 
Failure to keep adequate records 
Inaccuracies in these records 
How much will I have to pay? 
Unfortunately missing the deadline by just a few minutes will result in a £100 fine. This is followed by a further £10 for each additional day, up to a maximum of 90 days. After this three month period there will be further penalties for any forgotten submission or unpaid tax, either via a further £300 penalty or 5% of the tax owed – whichever is higher. 
To calculate exactly what you could owe, there is an online tool for calculation how much you will need to pay in penalties if you were to miss the deadline. 
Extenuating circumstances: 
In some cases there are legitimate reasons for not being able to file your assessment in time or pay the tax by the date due. If you feel unable to meet the deadline and requirements in time then reaching out to HMRC can help you avoid any further unnecessary payments. 
“Help will always be provided for those who have a genuine excuse for not submitting their return on time  
but it’s unfair to the majority of honest taxpayers when others make bogus claims. 
If you think you might miss the 31 January deadline, get in touch with us now – the earlier we’re contacted,  
the more we can help.” – Angela MacDonald, HMRC Director General of Customer Services. 
You can reach out to HMRC before the filing date or appeal a penalty if you believe you have “extenuating circumstances” that HMRC deem “reasonable and serious.” Suggestions of legitimate reasons are as follows: 
You suffered a bereavement of your partner or another close relative shortly before the deadline for a return or payment. 
You had an unexpected hospital stay that meant you couldn’t meet your obligations. 
You suffered from a serious or life-threatening illness. 
The software you use to complete your returns failed just before the deadline, despite you taking reasonable care to maintain it. 
HMRC suffered its own technical problems. 
You suffered a relevant fire, flood, or theft. 
You have a disability that prevented you meeting your obligations. 
Unreasonable excuses: 
With the above in mind, it’s probably time that we jump across to have a look at the wonderful world of excuses and what hasn’t impressed HMRC in the past. Angela MacDonald stated: 
“We want to make it as simple as possible for our customers to do their tax returns and the majority  
make the effort to do theirs right and on time. But each year we still come across some poor excuses  
and expenses which range from problems with maids to televisions.” 
From January 2019, here are some prime examples of what not to say: 
My mother-in-law is a witch and put a curse on me 
I’m too short to reach the post box 
I was just too busy – my first maid left, my second maid stole from me, and my third maid was very slow to learn 
Our junior member of staff registered our client in Self Assessment by mistake because they were not wearing their glasses 
My boiler had broken and my fingers were too cold to type 
While we sympathise with the broken boiler situation, it’s clear that non of these satisfy the “reasonable and serious” guideline set by HMRC and thus non of the above excuses proved successful. 
Furthermore, claims for a 55-inch TV with sound bar to help a carpenter price his jobs, a music subscription so someone could listen to music as they worked and a family holiday to Nigeria were all rejected as unsuccessful expenses claims. 
How we can help  
If you’re still unsure about your situation and want to avoid seeing your excuses published online by HMRC for all to see, call a member of our team at Moulds & Co today.  
Our professional and friendly team are here to take the hassle out of tax and ensure you pay only what you need to. To speak to our team today, call 01937 584188 or request a callback on our website. 
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